U.S., Philippine forces launch search for missing Marine

Search Underway for Marine Who Went Overboard Near the Philippines

Navy in frantic search to find Marine who went overboard near Philippines

The U.S.S. Essex reported the Marine missing in the Sulu Sea around 9:40 a.m. local time Thursday and immediately started search and rescue operations.

The Navy, Marine Corps and Philippine ships and aircraft are searching the Sulu Sea, where the ship was conducting routine operations, the Marines said in a news release Friday.

The Philippine government facilitated diplomatic clearance for U.S. assets involved in the search and rescue operation.

The Marine was reported overboard at 9:40 a.m. local time Thursday by the USS Essex, an amphibious assault ship, according to a press release from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit to which the missing soldier was assigned.

"We allowed the entry of rescue ships and aircraft", Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

According to the Navy, the Marine Corps and Philippines' Military and emergency services are also aiding in the search and rescue efforts.

U.S. Navy crew members and members of the missing Marine's unit have conducted expensive searches of the Essex, while calling in the Philippine Coast Guard to assist in the search at sea.

Western Mindanao Commander Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega said they have dispatched air search and rescue teams during the first few hours, but did not find the marine.

American and Philippine forces are scouring the waters in the Pacific for a lost Marine, reported missing during joint military drills of the Philippines' southwest coastline, officials at Marine Corps headquarters said Friday.

"It is an all-hands effort to find our missing Marine", Navy Capt. Gerald Olin, head of Amphibious Squadron One and commander of the search-and-rescue operation, said in a statement.

Colonel Chandler Nelms, 13th MEU commanding officer, for his part said: "As we continue our search operation, we ask that you keep our Marine and Marine's family in your thoughts and prayers".

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